Buried gems of the Outback
Opals are not the only jewels you’ll find underground in the mining and tourism town of Coober Pedy, writes Spida Everitt
COOBER Pedy was built on the back of a feverish addiction to opal mining in 1915, and today it’s the opals – and tourism – that keep the heart of this town pumping.
Located 846km north of Adelaide, Coober Pedy has to be seen to be believed, with its opal mines and houses that seem to be nothing more than a front door on the side of a mound of rock and dirt.
The local’s homes – known as dugouts – are built underground to escape the Outback’s high temperatures. Inside, these homes are just like the ones above ground – with power, water, TV signal and telephone connection – save for the lack of windows.
Natural light enters via skylights and temperatures are kept at about 23C year round.
Our first stop is at an opal shop which includes a tour of Umoona Opals with a lovely gentleman by the name of Yani.